Culinary Capers

January | 2015

25th Annual Gala Dinner & Auction | Sunday February 22

Join Us!

Honorary co-chairs Billy Munnelly and Kato Wake invite you to join them for a glittering evening in Toronto bringing together individuals and corporations who have supported the Stratford Chefs School for 25 years. Our students are front and centre of this event; behind the scenes preparing the splendid four-course menu, out front serving our patrons in fine style and running the Gala Auction throughout the evening.

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Your Support is Invaluable

The Stratford Chefs School was established in 1983 as a not-for-profit educational institution, which trains young Canadian chefs through a unique, industry-driven program that is operated by working restaurant professionals.

The School's curriculum remains in step with the changing market, developments in the restaurant business and emerging innovations in cuisine.

As such the School relies on fund-raising efforts and the annual Gala to keep tuition affordable and maintain excellence of training; the Gala accounts for 40% of fund-raised revenue.

Stratford Chefs School 25th Annual Gala Dinner & Auction

Sunday, Feb. 22nd, 5pm

George Restaurant, 111-C Queen Street East, Toronto, ON, Canada

Tickets $500 per person. Charitable Tax Receipt $300. Cocktail Chic.

To reserve please call Kelly at 519.271.1414 email or click on the link below

Our Sponsors

25th Anniversary Presenting Sponsor

BMO Financial Group

Menu Sponsor

President's Choice

Venue Sponsor

George Restaurant

Reception Sponsor

The Vine - Rob Groh Agency

Wine Sponsor

Joie Farm

Print Sponsor

Trucraft Creative Lithography

Coffee Partner

Revel Caffe

International Guest Chefs in Residence Begins January 20!

The Stratford Chefs School is honoured to announce Chef Francesco Lagi and Chef Michael Hazlewood as International Chefs in Residence for 2015.

Chef Francesco Lagi joins us from Villa Mangiacane in Tuscany and will cook dinner with our students from Tuesday January 20 through Saturday January 24, 2015.

Nestled in the heart of the winemaking region of Chianti Classico, Villa Mangiacane is a magnificent 15th century villa built by the Machiavelli family, bearing the unmistakable hand of the Renaissance master, Michelangelo. Located just 12km south of Florence, Mangiacane is set within 600 acres of flourishing vineyards and olive groves. The private estate produces three award winning wines and a distinctive olive oil, which you can taste and enjoy during your stay.

Chef Francesco Lagi was born in Florence and educated in catering and the hotel business in Florence. Chef Lagi’s cuisine focuses on classic Tuscan dishes with creative, international presentations. He has honed his skills at many of the most renowned restaurants in the Florence region: La Terrazza Brunelleschi, Il Cibreo, San Domenico a one-star Michelin restaurant in Imola and Enoteca Pinchiorri a three-star Michelin.

Chef Michael Hazlewood joins us from Toasted Restaurant and Wine Shop in London, England and will cook dinner with our students from Tuesday January 27 through Saturday January 31, 2015.

Toasted is New Zealand born Chef Michael Hazlewood’s first restaurant venture: an 80 seat restaurant with a daily changing menu of seasonal, modern British fare. Chef Hazlewood’s work experience includes: Attica in Melbourne, and Soif and The Green Man and French Horn in London.

Toasted’s menu is driven by products from small farmers and growers; a wood-fired oven is used for daily baked bread and roasting fish and meat.

For reservations call Kelly at 519.271.1414, or email

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Chef Francesco Lagi Menus | January 20-24, 2015

Tuesday Jan 20

Tortino with Fresh Pecorino, Honey and Dried Grapes

Potato Ravioli with Wild Boar Ragout

Beef Fillet with Porcini Mushrooms, Fried Sage Leaves and Red Wine Reduction

Almond Biscuits with Tuscan Sweet Wine ‘Vin Santo’

Wednesday Jan 21

Ricotta and Pesto Flan with Tuscan ‘Frantoiana’ Sauce

Diraspini Pasta with Pancetta, Olives and Fresh Tomatoes

Truffle Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Potatoes and Leeks

Mascarpone Semifreddo with Candied Orange and Rosemary Reduction

Thursday Jan 22

Cannellini Beans, Cream and Steamed Spelt

Chestnut Flour Gnocchi with Ragout

Proscuitto Stuffed Guinea Hen, Aged Pecorino, Zucchini and Mint

Apple Cake with Cinnamon Cream

Friday Jan 23

Chicken Liver Patè with Rosemary Bruschette

Risotto with Chianti Classico and Fried Cabbage

Hake ‘Livornese’ with Potatoes and San Marzano Tomatoes

Zuccotto Fiorentino

Saturday Jan 24 (Sold Out)

Eggplant Parmigiana with Mozzarella Cheese

Tuscan Ribollita with Winter Vegetables and Bread

Chicken ‘Alla Cacciatora’ with Porcini Mushrooms and Olives

Chestnut shortbread with Cream and Hazelnuts

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Chef Michael Hazlewood Menus | January 27-31, 2015

Tuesday Jan 27

Sourdough, Cultured Butter, Homemade Fresh Cheese


Veal Brain



Jelly & Custard

Wednesday Jan 28

Sourdough, Cultered Butter, Homemade Fresh Cheese


Heritage Carrot

Duck Hearts



Thursday Jan 29

Sourdough Cultured Butter, Homemade Fresh Cheese

Monkfish Liver





Friday Jan 30

Sourdough, Cultured Butter, Homemade Fresh Cheese






Saturday Jan 31

Sourdough, Cultured Butter, Homemade Fresh Cheese

Smoked Eel


Raw Beef



Canadian Guest Chefs Series Starts February 3!

The Canadian Guest Chefs Series:

February 3 - Sean Collins | Mercer Hall

February 4 - Francisco Alejandri | Agave y Aguacate

February 5 - Bryan Steele | The Prune Restaurant

February 12 - Kris Schlotzhauer | Enoteca Sociale

February 14 - Neil Baxter | Rundles (Sold Out)

February 19 - Lorenzo Loseto | George

February 24-26 - Carl Heinrich & Ryan Donovan | Richmond Station

Students Featured in The Globe & Mail Food & Drink Column!

Congratulations to Level 2 students James Toenders & Sam Bavaro on having their recipes featured in Lucy Waverman's Food & Drink Column in The Globe & Mail! Ms Waverman was our Gastronomic Writer in Residence in November last year. During her stay she mentored our students by sharing her knowledge of Social Media & the Food Industry. Please follow the link below to read the column!

Student Bio

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Level 1 Student | Angie Mohr

Hi! I'm Angie Mohr, a Level 1 student here at the Stratford Chefs School. As you can tell from my picture, I'm certainly not fresh out of high school. I have been married for 23 years and have two children, 20 and 15. I'm a Stratford girl, but have also lived in Waterloo and Savannah, Georgia for many years and have travelled extensively. We came back to our hometown just over a year ago, and I'm finding a new appreciation for this city.

Although I came to chef school late, I've always been immersed in cooking. Over the years, I have taught classes in bread making, pasta, and cheese making, among other things. I have written food and sustainability articles for sites such as Yahoo!, Gadling, and MSNBC. I have raised chickens, fished in the warm waters off the Georgia coast, made my own sea salt, and harvested clams, oysters, blue crab, and shrimp. I have my Master Gardener designation and love growing my own fruit and vegetables. Earlier this year, I knew it was time to get serious about food.

As for my pre-chef school background, I have a degree in Economics, and am a Chartered Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and CPA-- in other words, I'm a big accounting nerd. I built, managed, and sold a successful regional accounting practice and have written seven books on business and finance topics, with over 125,000 books in print. I have had the opportunity to provide management consulting services to many high profile clients, including Paula Deen's The Lady & Sons restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. Although my role was to set up the point of sale system for Paula's attached retail store, I found myself gravitating back towards the kitchen at every opportunity, and was able to sneak in lessons on how to make hoecakes, real Southern biscuits, and fried chicken. I should have known then that I was heading in this direction.

In preparation for entering chef school, I spent the summer season working in Stratford at the Church Restaurant, both in the kitchen and as a server. My real restaurant experience was as old as my university degree and I wanted to ensure that I could still handle the physical demands of being a chef. Over the course of the summer, I fell in love with the restaurant industry-- and this city-- all over again. I knew I was heading in the right direction.

The first eight weeks of chef school were incredibly challenging, as I knew they would be. It had been a long time since I was in an academic environment and this is certainly a unique one. We have the opportunity to work in different real-world restaurants, and learn from an impressive and varied group of chefs, each with their own style and own preferences. This allows us to reflect on what works for us as budding chefs and what doesn't. It helps us to begin to shape our own style.

Over the Christmas break, I took the opportunity to work in several Stratford restaurants to expand my experience. Each kitchen has something to teach, whether it's about how to treat staff, how to prep and hold food for service, or how to MacGyver the equipment you have into what you need. It has been a fantastic experience, and I'm definitely ready to launch into the next eight weeks.

I am asked frequently about what I want to do when I'm done school. The honest answer is that I don't know. I do know that it will involve writing food-related books, especially about the history of regional foodways. It will involve clandestine underground supper club events. And, most importantly, it will involve cooking amazing food for the people in my life.

Toast of the Town | Alumni Spotlight

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Chef Matt Gaynor | 1999

Growing up in Wellesley Ontario, Matt moved to Stratford after high school where he found his passion for cooking at Down the Street Bar and Café. Graduating from the Chef School in 1999, Matt had successful stints as the Sous Chef at Pazzo Ristorante and later on as the Executive Chef at the Stratford Festival of Canada.

With a couple years at Cin Cin’s in Vancouver, Matt found himself in the Turks and Caicos Islands where he was the Chef at Magnolia Restaurant for 6 years. In 2013 Matt made the transition to Coco Bistro where he is the Head Chef for owner/executive chef Stuart Gray. Coco Bistro, one of the leading restaurants in the Caribbean is set in the largest Coconut groves on the island of Providenciales, offering al fresco dining under the coconut palms and stars.

When Matt is not in the kitchen he enjoys spending time in the Dominican Republic with his wife Ana Julia where they are building their retirement home in Vista Alegre, a small village in the Dominican countryside.

Are you an SCS Graduate? Let us know what you are up to!

We want to share your news! Help us to help you promote your business and any future events you are participating in. Do you have any sage words of advice for current students or recent grads? What adventures have you had since leaving the school?

We are very proud of our graduates and we want to share your story with our dedicated network of SCS alumni and supporters!

Send your story to

Our Latest Student Blog!

More YouTube Fun! Vegan Mushroom Risotto...

Vegan Mushroom Risotto

A Warm Thank You To Our Loyal Supporters!


Ryan Donovan

Nigel Howard

Timothy J. Leonard

Dr. Dennis Nuhn


Dan Donovan

Carl Heinrich

Eleanor Kane

Shelley Windsor

John Wolfe


revel caffè


Terry Manzo


The City of Stratford
The Compudoc and Switch Wifi


Bustard Chrysler


Cave Spring Cellars

Malivoire Wine

Rosewood Estates

The Vine - Rob Groh Agency

13th Street Winery

Hidden Bench



George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation

TD Financial Group

University of Waterloo Stratford Campus

SOUS CHEF $2500+

David Lester at The Three Houses
Dr. Dennis and Laurie Nuhn
revel caffè
Stratford Perth Community Foundation


Jason and Sarah Bandey

RE/MAX A-B Realty Ltd

James Walt


Jane Cooney
Karen Dirse
David and Jennifer Leaney
Linda MacDonald and Thomas Gray

Ross and Fran McElroy
Patricia McGrath
Ross Morgan

Barbara Schubert
David and Susan Tamblyn
Chip and Barbara Vallis
Dennis Vollmershausen


Elizabeth Baird
Harper Collins Canada

Sandra and Jim Pitblado



Eleanor Kane

James and Connie MacDougall

George Oleske

Hillary Purvis

Michael Stein Don

Bertha Thompson

Barbara Young

Gary A. Miller

John R. Reed

David & Linda Bowen

Larry & Gayle Folliott

Kimberley Payne

Paul Butler

Leanne Landers

Kathryn Fleming

Joseph & Marilynn Kokoszka

Susan Craig

William & Ann Gawman

John & Pam Hambly

Dr. Aaron Malkin

Eleanor Gow

Hon. Paul Hellyer

Christopher Reed

Hans & Lydia Habeggar